NES carts: stupidly large

Isn’t modern technology wonderful? Thanks to the joys of miniaturisation it’s now possible to enjoy retro machines in smaller form factors than they were originally released in. Take the FC Mobile II, for example – while it’s hardly small in portable terms, it’s a damn sight less bulky than the NES console it attempts to replicate.

Hyperkin’s FC Mobile II is one of a growing number of “FamiClones” to hit the market over the past few years. It joins the likes of the FC Twin and RetroDuo, although the biggest draw here is that it’s portable, as its name would suggest.

Powered by four AA batteries (or the bundled AC adapter) and boasting a 2.5 inch Active Matrix LCD display, the machine is perfect for retro gaming on the go. It even comes bundled with some interesting extras which transform it from mobile marvel to a dedicated home machine which you can hook up to your TV and use as a replacement for your aging/broken NES original.

For $50 you get a lot of gear

Before we get to that, an investigation of the hardware is probably in order. Like so many of these Far Eastern consoles, the build quality isn’t exactly inspiring. Despite its relatively chunky dimensions the FC Mobile II feels surprisingly lightweight, largely due to the fact that a lot of the interior is actually empty until you insert a NES cartridge.

The plastic looks cheap and nasty but thankfully the buttons feel solid and dependable. If you were expecting Nintendo-standard construction you’re obviously going to be disappointed, but it has to be remembered that this is an unlicensed machine and comes with a rock-bottom price tag, so its appearance is perfectly in line with where it sits in the marketplace.

The LCD screen is decent enough for this kind of device; it’s certainly not going to challenge your DS or PSP but it’s bright and colourful all the same, and perfect for fast-moving NES titles. Sound is also loud and punchy, although some of the music and effects in the games we tested were a little off – but this is a common “feature” of many FamiClones.

Mario on the move, y'all

What makes the FC Mobile II stand out from its rivals is the addition of two wireless controllers and a light gun. All of these accessories require more batteries, but they lend the machine a more epic feel; once connected up, this is essentially a fully-fledged NES machine which you can play with friends.

If you’re in the market for a FamiClone device then the FC Mobile II is most definitely worth considering. Not only is it possible to hook it up to your TV, it’s also portable so you can continue your gaming session on the move. The awkward manner in which NES carts stick out from the top of the console is a problem, but this is hardly a fault of the machine itself.

The FC Mobile II is available now from our good friends over at Stone Age Gamer for $49.99 plus shipping.